There really aren't many things in my everyday life that move me to publicly voice my opinion. So few, in fact, that many people may assume I don't have many opinions. But, as everyone does, so do I. I've just learned to suppress my opinions really well, so as not to cause a stir and to avoid confrontation. And there's always the sound advice from Abe Lincoln that has pulled me back from the edge- just in case I start to spill my opinions: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
But, really, I have this annoying little bee that I need to get out of my hair!
I'm a local Sevier County girl. I've lived in Sevierville my entire left except for 4 years at college (just a county over) and 4 months in Colorado. My mom, my grandparents, their parents, etc...all Sevier County peeps. I'm just saying this to say that when I speak as a local, I have a really good idea of what that means.
Throughout my life, there were days I didn't appreciate my hometown. This had more to do with wanting to discover new cultures and enjoy new adventures than the town itself. The good news is that as I grew up in Sevierville, I was able to travel quite a bit. Tourism is our industry, so it only makes sense that we travel, also- I call it research. And after "researching" many cities and countries, I absolutely love coming home to the Smoky Mountains.
"But what about the traffic?" You get used to it like you would in any town- there are backroads or a few days a year, you may stay closer to home. "But what about the always-packed Walmart?" Well, have you looked around other stores lately? I stopped at a different store-that-shall-remain-nameless in a neighboring town-that-shall-remain-nameless the other day. It was so dreary- maybe I just caught it on a bad day- with people getting off work and dragging around the store. But give me my Sevierville Walmart anyday- people are moving and happy- they are on vacation and have places to go and things to see!
And how many other towns celebrate every holiday to the extreme?? I'm spoiled. In order to move me now, I would need another town with Christmas lights on every surface in town for at least 3 months of the year. And I would need a lot of -fests. Winterfest, Springfest, Harvestfest, Create-your-own-fest, etc... And I would need Dollywood. Because sometimes I need kettlecorn, stat. I just take my handy-dandy season pass- the one that you don't have to pay for parking and you get a discount on food- hop on Veterans, take a tram, and I'm enjoying that sweet and salty popped corn before you know it. Okay- I don't do that everyday, but I do love Dollywood.
Oh, I've gotten so excited about Sevierville, I'm off-track- back to the buzzing in my bonnet...I love good food. There, I said it. I LIVE IN SEVIERVILLE AND I APPRECIATE GOOD FOOD. And, guess what? I'M NOT ALONE. Don't look so surprised, Chef. Close your mouth and hear me- There are people living in Sevierville, in Sevier County, in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee who appreciate fine food.
Do we have more chain restaurants and gravy boats than you can shake a stick at? Yes. Do we love donuts, too? Yes. Is one of the most popular places to eat in a gas station? Yes. But, hear me again, we ALSO appreciate the taste of fresh-from-the-garden, chef-created, maybe even on a white tablecloth, hard-to-pronounce-but-we'll-try-it-anyway food. We just don't want it served with a side of stuck-up.
Don't let the fact that I make casual sandwiches in a casual farmhouse atmosphere confuse you. I've eaten well in my life. I'm not a chef, I'm not a food expert, I'm not a judge- I'm an eater/diner/patron who got bored with my real job and thought a local cafe would be fun- even with the limited culinary knowledge I possess. And, I'm not going to be quiet when I hear people say that chef-driven restaurants will not work in this town. If you don't believe the local girl ranting on her blog, ask a new citizen who has moved here from another town, and I bet you'll find a similar request- More quality, local dining establishments, please! Ask a guest travelling in their motorcoach, staying in a cabin, or shopping at Tanger- more good food, please! Ask the diners currently eating downstairs as I type- more options, please!
I'll agree that it's not a well-trodden path, an easy road, etc.. and some education about new foods may be required- but isn't that the joy of serving unique food? I love serving food that some of our guests have never tried. It's even better when they thought they didn't like something, but when prepared without a can opener, it turns out they do. Honestly though, even saying that, I'm probably offending most of my guests because, as I may have mentioned, people here do know and love good food.
In conclusion, if I could add one thing to my hometown, it would be more chefs, more eateries, more cafes, more coffeeshops, etc... I'm not sure I could love my hometown more, but I'd be willing to try. ;)
Feeling so grateful for my hometown, my neighbors, and my guests as I step off my soapbox,